Minister of Labour Ken Kandodo says government will continue pursuing the one million jobs creation initiative amid the Covid-19 pandemic which has forced many businesses to close and some to reduce on staff.
Speaking in an interview on Wednesday when he and Deputy Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule visited Nasawa Technical College in Zomba, the minister said government cannot stop everything because of the pandemic as “that would be a complete disaster”.
Said Kandodo: “Times are difficult now with the Covid-19 pandemic. Many businesses are operating at half capacity, people are staying at home and other businesses are finding it hard to import raw materials because other countries are on lockdown.
“So, it is a difficult environment, but we cannot just give up. This is the time for us to come up with a strategic plan because we do believe that the Covid-19 pandemic is going to go away at some point.”
The minister said he visited Nasawa to appreciate the work that is done at the technical college in training people that will not only have employability skills but are also equipped to set up their own businesses and employ others.
“The graduates from these colleges come out with expertise in areas such as electrical engineering, carpentry and welding and if they can be assisted with capital after graduating, they can set up their businesses and employ others. So, in that sense, they can help create jobs in Malawi,” said Kandodo.
On her part, Nasawa Technical College principal Chifundo Lodzeni said some of the challenges faced at the institution include understaffing and a high vacancy rate. She said they have 12 teachers and 12 support staff against the required 63 teachers.
She said: “Because of the high vacancy rate, we recruit at college level whereby these additional teachers and support staff are supposed to be paid by the college.
“However, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are struggling to pay the members of staff recruited by the college. They have stayed for close to three months without salary since we depend on the fees paid by students.”
Lodzeni also appealed to government to consider raising the K15 000 per term fees paid by government-sponsored students at the institution since it is not enough to cater for them [the students] for the three-month long term they stay in school.
Out of the K15 000, she said K5 000 goes to government, K2 000 is for textbook revolving fund and the college keeps K8 000.